Movie stars that have a connection to Idaho

Famous movie stars have houses in and visit locations all over the world, in many big cities like Los Angeles, Paris, London, and New York City, but did you know that a lot of well-known actors and actresses have connections with Idaho? Many have houses in luxurious resorts, some have Idaho hobbies that they enjoy participating in, and quite a few actors have spent time in the state filming a movie or two. You might be surprised at just how many big names in film have ties to the Gem state.

The Sun Valley ski resort is a popular luxury resort for Idahoans. It is a beautiful area with fantastic ski slopes and plenty of other great winter sports that one can enjoy. However, over the years its popularity has spread beyond the state and many quite familiar people have places to stay in the area during the winter season where they can enjoy the luxury of Sun Valley and participate in some of their favorite winter sports. It is believed that the trend of celebrities staying there originated with Ernest Hemingway, who spent many years and even wrote some books at the resort. Make sure you go at the right time of year and you just might run into the Terminator, Forrest Gump, and Dirty Harry, all at the same location! That’s right, popular and award-winning actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, and Clint Eastwood are just a few of the household names that own property in the area. Bruce Willis, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Richard Dreyfuss are several other well-known actors that have had ties to Sun Valley. Famously, Batman actor Adam West spent most of his time living in Idaho for over 30 years up until his death in 2017.

There are several other Idaho cities where plenty of famous actors and actresses have homes as well. Sandpoint, Idaho, is one of these. People adore the beautiful scenery in the Sandpoint, Idaho area, and that is the place that Ben Stein (famous for his small yet unforgettable role as Ferris Bueller’s teacher in 1980s comedy Ferris Bueller’s day off) calls home. He has stated that he loves how friendly people are there and how peaceful the area is compared to other places he has lived. On a trip to Idaho in 1979, Steve McQueen (one of the most popular stars of the 60s and 70s) liked the beauty of the state so much that he bought property to live on not too long before he passed away. Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke, up until she passed away, resided the northern part of the state in Coeur d’Alene Idaho. Dawn Wells, one of the last living cast members from the hit TV show Gilligan’s Island, currently lives in the small town of Driggs.

Some very famous actors also grew up in the Gem state. Aaron Paul, known for his award-winning performance in Breaking Bad as Jesse Pinkman, and also starring in popular movies like Need For Speed, Exodus: Gods and Kings and Central Intelligence, was born in Emmett, Idaho and attended school at Centennial High School in Boise. Famous voice actor Bill Fagerbakke was raised in Rupert, Idaho. You may not recognize his face if you see him, but you just might recognize his voice if you hear him. He is well-known for voicing Patrick Star in the popular TV series Spongebob Squarepants and in the films The Spongebob Squarepants Movie and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. After graduating high school, he stayed in the state to attend college at the University of Idaho. He played football there and even based his character in the TV series Coach off of one of his college coaches.

Plenty of celebrities have taken vacations in Idaho with very positive things to say about the gorgeous state. In 2018, Henry Winkler, famous for his role as ‘The Fonz’ on Happy Days, Went on a fishing trip on a visit to the Palisades in Idaho, and had a very enjoyable time, creating some very positive buzz about the great fishing that the Gem State is famous for. He even tweeted that he couldn’t get Idaho off his mind! Oscar-winning actor Matt Damon is also no stranger to the Gem state, having paid many visits to the Boise area over the years. In 2016, he came to the state to promote the most recent movie in the Jason Bourne franchise. This premier event was held at the Village Cinema in Meridian, Idaho, where they showed the movie and talked to a packed audience. The event sold out and the money made from the ticket sales all went towards the YMCA’s construction of a facility in southern Meridian.

Movies are filmed all over the world, and plenty of movies have been filmed in Idaho, which naturally would bring celebrities to town. Bruce Willis, in addition to having a home in Sun Valley, filmed the comedy movie Breakfast of Champions in Twin Falls, Idaho during the 1990s (not too far from his Sun Valley home). The Sun Valley area itself was the filming location of the 1956 film Bus Stop starring Marilyn Monroe and 2001’s Town & Country featuring Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty. A little city called Wallace, Idaho has had more than just one movie filmed there. In addition to being the place where Christopher Walken’s 1980 drama Heaven’s Gate was filmed, James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and Terminator actress Linda Hamilton also spent a lot of time in the small town filming the disaster movie Dante’s Peak. 80s drama Bronco Billy (directed by and starring Clint Eastwood) was shot all around the Boise area.

Who knew that the 39th most populous state could have ties with so many big Hollywood names and highly talented actors? It is truly a testament to the Gem state’s beauty and serenity that it has been such a popular place to vacation, film movies, and even live for so many movie stars.


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